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One Day in Cardiff, Wales: 24 Hours in Cardiff Itinerary

Only have time to spend one day in Cardiff? This guide will help you sped the perfect 24 hours in Cardiff, Wales.

We only had a short amount of time to spend in Cardiff, so we had to make sure to see the highlights. Whether you’re here for a quick day trip or a short overnight trip, this one day in Cardiff itinerary will be perfect for you!

If you’re planning to spend a laid back 24 hours in Cardiff, here are the best things to see and do.

Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Wales

One Day in Cardiff Itinerary

1. Visit Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Wales

The main thing I wanted to see in Cardiff was Cardiff Castle, my first Welsh castle. A ticket to the castle gets you an audio guide, access to the castle grounds, castle apartments, Norman keep, wartime tunnels, and the interpretation center — pretty comprehensive!

The castle apartments are ornately decorated, designed by William Burges for the 3rd Marquess of Bute. During the castle renovations, the Butes uncovered some of the original stonework from the castle’s Roman period, which you can see lining the bottom of the castle walls.

In the middle of the castle grounds sits the Norman keep on a motte (hill) surrounded by a moat. About 50 steep steps take you up to the Norman keep, and from there it’s even more steps to the top of the keep where you get panoramic views of Cardiff.

In the wartime tunnels, muffled sounds of an air raid play overhead. You can walk parts of the eight sections of air raid shelters dug into the castle walls during World War II, which would have held up to 1,800 people.

We spent a little less than 2 hours at Cardiff Castle, though I would have been happy to just sit in the castle grounds and admire the keep all day long.

2. Eat Lunch at Pillars

Before we left Cardiff, we had plenty of time for lunch, which we ate at Pillars Restaurant & Coffee Shop.

This cafeteria-style restaurant serves classic British foods. Kevin had the Steak & Kidney Pie and I had the Lasagna, and both were really good.

29 Queen St, Cardiff CF10 2AH, UK

3. Visit the National Museum Cardiff

Monet Paintings at National Museum Cardiff, Wales

Next, we went to National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff’s art and history museum.

The art galleries have some of the best pieces of Impressionist art, which is my favorite, and influential Welsh works, as well as collections of notable paintings, drawings, sculptures, and ceramics.

The natural history galleries take you through the evolution of Wales, including Welsh dinosaurs, and through the mountains, volcanoes, and sea to show you the landscape of Wales today.

National Museum Cardiff is free to visit. We spent a little over an hour here until the museum closed.

4. Walk The Hayes

The Hayes is Cardiff’s mostly-pedestrianized shopping thoroughfare.

Lined with luxury shops and restaurants, the Hayes runs from St Johns Church, near the castle, to Cardiff Central Library.

Two Victorian shopping arcades (narrow covered passageways that house specialty shops) have entrances off the Hayes.

5. Eat Dinner at The Owain Glyndwr

Where to Eat in Cardiff, Wales

After going to see Cardiff Castle and National Museum Cardiff and walking around the Hayes, we went for dinner at The Owain Glyndwr, a craft beer pub named for the Welsh ruler and last native Welshman to hold the title of Prince of Wales, who led a revolt against the English rule of Wales (also what I named my Welsh teddy bear souvenir).

Kevin had the Wagyu Beef Burger and I had the Beef & Double Gloucester Pie, and I had to fight the hard crust on my pie a little, but both meals were really delicious.

10 St John St, Cardiff CF10 1GL, UK

24 Hours in Cardiff Map

Ready to spend a fantastic day in Cardiff? Use the map below to plan out your quick trip.

I hope this guide helps you plan the perfect 24 hours in Cardiff, Wales!

Top Cardiff Tours

Where to Stay in Cardiff

Hilton Cardiff

We stayed at the Hilton Cardiff because it was centrally located right across the street from Cardiff Castle and right in between the castle and National Museum Cardiff.

The room was spacious and comfortable with a king sized bed and a large tub for a relaxing night reading in a bubble bath.

Kingsway, Greyfriars Rd, Cardiff CF10 3HH, UK

Top Cardiff Hotels

More UK Travel Guides

Ready to visit Cardiff, Wales? Plan your trip with these tips.

  • Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
  • Find accommodation: You can find top hotels in Cardiff using
  • Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.



One Day in Cardiff, Wales: 24 Hours in Cardiff Itinerary

Did you find this one day in Cardiff guide helpful? How will you spend your 24 hours in Cardiff? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Great Post!!! I truly believe that there is much more to explore new places. The world has incredible beauty which makes us visit new places for sure.

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